A MESSAGE FROM GANIENKEH
INDEPENDENT NORTH AMERICAN INDIAN STATE
NO. 45 MAY, 1981
INDIANS ACCORDED NO RIGHTS TO ANY LAND
The Clinton County Legislature has taken up the case of the GANIENKEH INDIAN PROJECT. Their project is to petition the New York State government to revoke the lease made by the Turtle Island Trust with the New York State. Said the people of Ganienkeh are not living up to the agreements and that the State hasn't fulfilled the inspection clause in the Turtle Island Trust agreement. Wrong on both counts. When we saw that the Ganienkeh Indian Project cannot be implemented in the Moss Lake care because of climate, short growing season and torrential acid rains every day, we decided to move to another area of the Ganienkeh Territory. More conducive to agriculture.
Being in a good position to negotiated, possessing nine points of the law, we were able to convince New York State the justice of our right to move from one area of our territory to another. During the negotiations, Secretary of State, Mario Cuomo stated that New York State cannot outright give land to anybody and that the Constitution of New York State has to be obeyed by its officials.
There are four ways by which people may not pay taxation on property. One of the ways is to be a religion or a church, but Mr. Cuomo observed that a move was one to make churches pay taxes on their huge investments. Another way is to be an educational organization. A third way is to be a hospital or a crazy house. The negotiators saw that we don't qualify as a hospital and not yet as a crazy house. Being of instructive turn of mind, it wasn't hard for us to agree that we are an education organization. We do go about the land speaking in colleges, universities, churches, grade schools, even Sunday schools, clubs and town halls instructing interested folks about the wonders of being Mohawks, one of the natural people. The white man tells us he's wonderful too. To get along in this world, you gotta say you're pretty damn good. So, we have a building set aside for the noble purpose of bringing truth, encouragement and learning to all and sundry. We've been an educational organization right along. Even before moving to Moss Lake. So, the charge by the Clinton County Legislature that we are not living up to educational institution status is false.
Regarding the inspection clause in the Turtle Island Trust agreement, the dam at the lower end of the lake has been inspected by the Environment Conservation Department with the permission of the Ganienkeh Council Fire. The said Environment Conservation Department even instructed some of the Warriors what to look out for in the inspection of the dam and so it's being taken care of better than if the New York State handled. If the dam bursts, the people living in Altona would have to sink or swim. Altona is a small town of about 1,200 white people, mostly of French Canadian origin, spilled over from LaBelle Province du Quebec. They have a post office in the town where we get our mail.
About a week or so ago, the Clinton County Legislature in Plattsburgh, New York held a meeting. There were presentations for and against us. Ministers and pastors of various Protestant churches made speeches supporting our cause. Reverend Richard Campbell of the Plattsburgh United Methodist Church showed slides of our project and progress. He told the legislature about the aims, goals and purposes of the Ganienkeh Indian Project in his own words. Other pastors and the laity came out and spoke in our support. It was very gratifying to have such staunch supporters. Another church mentioned was the Presbyterian and their ministers spoke ably in our defense. We hereby express our thanks and appreciation to our non-Indian friends who came through.
Three people from the Altona Citizens Committee expressed their hopes that we be kicked out of the area. Made all kinds of accusations, some taken out of our ancient enemy Mike Blair's fairy tales. One of the said Altona Citizens Committee members, Bill Relations, who flies a scruffy old Aeroplane taking pictures of dumps and junk yards, complained to the County Legislature meeting that there are junk cars in our territory. The Indians say the only junk cars in the territory are the ones we ride in and to be careful what they call junk. We heard this complaint before and we moved out all our scrapped cars. A dealer in junk came and took them all away. There are junk yards and garbage dumps in every town, village and city in the United States of America. Why shouldn't Indians have junk yards too? Monsieur Relations should go all over the country and take photos of all ten million of junk yards and dumps. there must be some kind of psychiatric explanation when someone is obsessed with junk and garbage dumps. Probably passing off pictures of other dumps as being of Ganienkeh. His own flying junk shall one day grace the garbage heap in Altona.
Another Altona Citizens Committee member remarked to the County Legislature that if Reverend Campbell likes Indians he should have them in his back yard. Several things can be implied by this. We're in the complainants back yard. That's how the oppressors treat our lands -- as their back yard. Also it may be implied that he doesn't want us as neighbors. The lady in their group said she has nothing against Indians but it's not right that we should get their land! All she wants is for us to share our land with her people. That they can come in to fish as they used to. To close off the roads and keep the land to ourselves is wrong. She didn't say if she is ready to share her land with Indians. Would she be so hot about opening up her land to other people? We did more than our share in sharing with the white folks. While we were away from our land, they just came in by the millions and took over our 9 millon acres without so much as a by your leave. They don't think we should get back even a tiny weeny little bit of it which is what we were able to repossess. The farmer, Mr. Burlis, from whom we got the farm, advised us not to open up the roads. There'll be no sleeping for you at night. They hold beer parties all night long. One night, I went out to their cars to ask them to keep down their noise, so we can get some sleep. They chased me back to my house. There's no reasoning with drunks. It's also known as Lover's Lane. Probably why it's called Stark Road.
Reverend Campbell was able to arrange an opening for a speech for one of our number. Dekarontekeh took the mike and gave them the facts of life. He was very logical and reasonable. It inspired the overflow crowd to give him a big hand. He took them back to 1974 when we occupied Moss Lake and the reasons we occupied Moss Lake. Every nation has a right to exist and to an area of land for its territory. After quite a struggle the Ganienkeh Indian Project was able to regain some 6,000 acres of land which is less than 100th of one per cent of the stolen Ganienkeh Territory. (Mohawk Territory.) When the Europeans came to America, the native Indians invited them to share the land. If the Indians had turned their backs and walked in to the forest, the European fugitives would have perished. The Indians showed them how to survive in their new environment. Taught them how to plant corn, potatoes, beans and other new world land products. When they grew strong, they took over all the land. Is that the way to show gratitude and appreciation for being saved from death by starvation? The lady from the Altona Citizens Committee had remarked that people have lost their lands before by being conquered and they don't complain. They don't try to get their land back!!! Aside from the fact that "conquest" is a brazen robbery, no better than a gang of crooks robbing a bank and slaughtering people while they're at it, the Six Nations Confederacy was never conquered. They lost their lands in "peace" time through fraud, politics and sad to say, religion. The Altona Citizens Committee lady would surely be protesting to high heaven if she was the victim of "conquest". Germany and Japan were unconditionally conquered in 1945 and did they lose their lands to their conquerors? Were they placed on reservations which are actually concentration camps? No, that would be inhuman. They were responsible for the slaughter of 26 million humans in World War II. They were permitted to keep their land and governments. Only the Indians were subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment.
Dekarontekeh pointed out that when we occupied Moss Lake, we were not dispossessing individual owners. We took over State land. It was the State that was a party to the robbery of the Ganienkeh Territory. We also had no dreams of repossessing all the nine million acres which is rightfully the land of the Mohawks. We were fighting for an area of it where we can exercise our human rights, our own government and society according to our customs and traditions.
The Altona Citizens Committee, in common with other racists and oppressors in America, wish to see that not one acre or even an inch of land is restored to the native Americans. There is even a move on in both Canada and the United States to abolish the Indian nationality by assimilating all the Indian people and legislating them out of existence. Make Indians legally white people of Indian descent. Gentle genocide by computering the Indians into oblivion. It's up to the Indians by fighting very effectively, to stay Indians and regain some land.
MESSAGE FROM GANIENKEH